Hacking the Hurricane

An Inside Look at How New York’s Masters of Disruptions Stepped Up to Help with Hurricane Relief

The scene at Secret Clubhouse. (Photo: Tumblr)

Late last week, Betabeat took a two-hour trip via interborough bus to Secret Clubhouse, a newly launched Williamsburg coworking spot. The shared office (decorated with vintage Apples and a motley assortment of posters) was packed with techies typing away on the laptops, but the vibe was no more panicked than that of an undergraduate library in the earliest days of reading period.

Nearby, permanent residents Small Girls PR were hashing out wardrobing details for the upcoming “Tech Homecoming” fundraiser and upending their desks in search of a missing checkbook. The occasional burst of laughter filtered from the back, and every so often someone would look up with a piece of news gleaned from Twitter. But quiet largely reigned.

The only obvious sign of extraordinary circumstances was a sign on the wall, handwritten grade-school-binder style: “Sandy Shelter,” it said, with a Wifi login and the message of support, “we <3 u.” Read More

XX in Tech

Last Night’s Girls Who Code Gala Proves Beyonce’s Thesis: Who Runs the World? Girls!

9 Photos

Reshma Saujani

There are precious few tech events for which Betabeat would agree to wear high heels. But if there was ever a worthy cause, it’s Girls Who Code. Thus between subway transfers, we swapped out our beat-up boots for patent leather and teetered our way around the cobblestone patches outside the New York Stock Exchange for the organization’s startup-studded gala.

The cause for celebration was two-fold. The first was showing off demos from its inaugural class of 20 girls, who represented all five boroughs and some disarmingly ambitious ideas. (We’re still scratching our head at Cora Frederick‘s plan to use data mining and machine learning to classify tumors.) The second was to announce an audacious new goal: to train one million girls in computer science by 2020, starting with a national expansion outside New York City next year.

The nonprofit organization, founded by former deputy public advocate Reshma Saujani and run by former Jumo managing director Kristen Titus, offers teenage girls an eight-week, full-time education in robotics, web design, and mobile development, with mentorship from engineers and executives at Twitter, Google, ZocDoc, Gilt Groupe, and more. In fact, Ms. Saujani noted last night, CEO Dick Costolo volunteered Twitter’s first philanthropic donation to Girls Who Code, although she politely declined to specify the dollar amount. Read More

Tech Events

Uncubed Partners with NYC Digital for a Two Day Tech Festival to Empower NYC Startups

(Photo: Uncubed)

The Uncubed tech talent fair is back, but this time it’s taken on some major partners and expanded into a two-day, tech celeb-studded event plus awesome party.

As we told you back in April, NYC Uncubed is an initiative that seeks to buck traditional recruitment tactics in favor of innovative new ways for startups to recruit talent. Now, Uncubed has partnered with NYC Digital to host a tech festival on November 1st and 2nd November 12th and 13th* at the Altman Building in Manhattan. Read More

XX in Tech

Our Favorite Startups From Women’s Demo Night, Hosted by New York Tech Meetup and Change the Ratio

Jeanne Pinder, the founder and CEO of Clear Health Costs and Jessica Lawrence, managing director of NYTM at the second Women's Demo Night.

“How different is this room right now, in terms of the percentages of women versus men?” Jessica Lawrence, the managing director of New York Tech Meetup asked the audience at the second Change the Ratio and NYTM Women’s Demo night on Tuesday. She had a point. The crowd gathered at Facebook’s Midtown offices to watch women-run founders demo their startups was diverse in terms of age, race, and ethnicity, yet predominately female.

Ms. Lawrence kicked off the evening by confessing that, even as the event’s organizer and a former Girl Scouts CEO, she had mixed feelings about the self-selecting event. “In some ways,” she said, “having a whole separate stage just for women sometimes kind of defeats the purpose.” Read More

Metro Tech

Last Night at New York Tech Meetup: Condoms, Robots, and Bicycles

Representatives from Shindig, Skillcrush and Appguppy answer questions about their products.

Crowded into NYU’s Skirball center, the New York tech world got one step closer to developing Skynet Tuesday night at the monthly New York Tech Meetup, just one day after NYTM reached the 25,000 member mark.

“What I fell in love with was the community. I had not really had any tech in my background at all, and yet felt totally at home here,” gushed Jessica Lawrence, the managing director of NYTM, as she announced their membership accomplishments to cheers from the boisterous crowd.

Perhaps of more relevance to the future of our society—Jonathan Gottfried, a developer evangelist at Twilio, did a live demonstration of the TwilioBot 3000, a possible predecessor of assassin cyborgs. Mr. Gottfried was able to control the TwilioBot with his phone, sending it commands by typing numbers on his keypad … until he accidentally hung up on the TwilioBot. Read More

Electioneering at New York Tech Meetup

Mr. Diamond.

About 60 of 200 registered attendees gathered at New Work City last night to hear two-minute speeches by the candidates for an open New York Tech Meetup board seat. Meetup and NYTM founder Scott Heiferman stood in the audience in a red hoodie, board member Esther Dyson settled on the window ledge in a #newsfoo t-shirt, and scene staple Gary Sharma wandered about with his sponsored tie (Pivotal Labs and Inkba) as 15 candidates gave their vision of what should change about the largest meetup in New York, which last year incorporated as a nonprofit 501c(6), giving it the power to lobby government, among other things. Read More

NYTM

New York Tech Meetup Going All Pro On Us

It’s the Jessica Lawrence era! Since the New York Tech Meetup hired a managing director, we’ve noticed upgrades to the website, including the fact that NYTM is now posting agendas before the event with the names of apps and their presenters, an improvement over the paper agendas we used to get at the door. There’s also now a video archive, although the Livestream is still not working.

Demos on deck range from food, drinks, stories, tasks and an “open source framework for creating machine vision appliances.” Sweet! We’ve written about some of them before–Gojee, CalorieCount and Onepager–but others are news to us. Full lineup is below. Read More